My Thoughts on Splendor v Century Spice Road

So thanks to the wonderful resource that is Board in the City (Southampton), I have been playing a few more new games and trying out some stuff. There is two in particular that caught my attention recently: Century Spice Road and Splendor. The former was like the sensation game at the Expo last year, sold out and stuff, so I thought “ok cool, we will give this a go”. And I had heard lots of people talk about Splendor so, why not, ey? The two games themselves are pretty comparable as the follow very similar dynamics and the game goals are in essence the same: be the player that has more victory points at the end of it, all based on your capability to do your best at resource management to maximise your economic gain.

In Century Spice Road you are merchants trying to set up a spice road (obvs!). There are victory cards with a set value of points for your end score that you can buy with cubes of different colours starting with yellow at its lowest value, green, red and brown. Your turns are devised in such a way that you either acquire cubes, cards that allow you to gain or exchange cubes or purchase the victory cards. Splendor is fairly similar, just instead of cubes you have gems (blue, red, green, black and white). Whilst in Spice Road you end the game when a player has purchased 5 of the victory cards, in Splendor you stop playing when someone reaches 15 victory points. Fairly simple games in any case, easy and quick to play, however, after having played both, I am still wondering why did Century Spice Road perform so well, when in comparison I think it is less straight forward – and more lame if you ask me…Also, who wants to pay nearly 30 quid when I can buy Splendor for like 20?

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My Top 5 WWII Games

We may be seeing a bit of a comeback in WW2 videogames soon, what with the new Call of Duty going back to its roots, perhaps influenced by Battlefield’s decision to aim in a similar direction with their WW1 setting. So if you fancy trying out some of the best WW2 games that are currently available, then allow me to share with you my favourites!

1. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

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Now with these lists I generally don’t intend to rank the games in any particular order, and the same goes here, with the little exception of this game. Red Orchestra 2 is perhaps my favourite WW2 game and First Person Shooter of all time. Despite being released in 2011 and reasonably old now, it still holds up. The gameplay has such a good mix between realism and enjoyability. The graphical and sound design are brilliant, with some of the best modeled weapons, and best weapon sounds I’ve ever seen. Even the voice acting is top notch, with the team you’re playing as speaking accented English that somehow doesn’t sound cheesy, and the enemies speaking either Russian or German. The combination of the fast yet thoughtful and deadly gameplay, the necessity of team cohesion from squad to commander level, and realism where it counts is a brilliant combination.  Continue reading “My Top 5 WWII Games”

Juegos que Hacen que me Muera del Aburrimiento

¡Buenas! Ya sé que el tema que traigo hoy es bastante controvertido, pero eh, para eso estamos, ¿no? Como siempre, lo que digo es lo que pienso, y no lo digo con ningún tipo de malicia: simplemente expreso mis sentimientos sobre determinados juegos que, aunque he intentado cogerles el gusto, la verdad es que me pueden. Así que preparos para la lista de la muerte:

-Catan: Si, si, ya lo sé, soy una desalmada…PPPFFFFF que queréis que os diga, me importa un comino este juego. Me aburre de forma abismal. Normalmente no puedo aguantar más de cuatro turnos antes de querer acabar con mi sufrimiento. ¿Por qué? Pues, veremos. Creo que posiblemente sea porque me parece una dinámica muy repetitiva y formularia, en la que un par de estrategias funcionan bien, y es uno de esos juegos en los que o te agarras a esa estrategia y ganas o no te comes ni los mocos. Tampoco me gusta la estética del juego – es feo con avaricia. Y nada oye, que es que no puedo entre una cosa y otra sentarme a jugar una partida de Catan (en cualquiera de sus variedades). Y la verdad es que lo he intentado varias veces. Al principio pensé, “jo, soy torpe y no lo pillo”. Pero no tenía nada que ver con eso; incluso ganando me aburre. Punto.

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Games I Tried to Like but Bore Me Endlessly

Hello everyone!! Yes, I know, I come with a controversial title, and I know I am going to get evils from many of you as I write this post but I really needed to get this off my chest. There are some games that it seems everyone loves…But me. I am not saying they aren’t good games, they just don’t cling with me, you know? I have tried them, and tried them, and played them…And i just cannot be bothered. And sometimes I play them just to please others and get along, but if it was down to me, they will never touch the surface of a table. EVER. So here is my list:

-CATAN: I KNOW!!! YOU ALL HATE ME NOW!! Well…Whatever! I really couldn’t care less for Catan. I can last about 4 rounds of the game without my jaw dropping into an insane concatenation of yawning. Why? Well, who knows. I think it feel rather repetitive and very formulaic, in the sense of xyz strategy works and that’s it. I don’t personally find it aesthetically appealing, and the general mechanic of it, I really just cannot find the will to make it through. Not even on my first game ever, years ago, did I actually enjoy playing it. I thought, “huh, I must be doing something wrong as everyone Loves this game”, and that is why I kept insisting. But Nope. Not for me.

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Men of War: a brilliant RTS despite its problems

I’ve been a huge fan of real-time strategy (RTS) games since Age of Empires. Unfortunately the RTS genre has been lacking anything decent or interesting for quite a while now, if you exclude Total War. There is however this fairly unknown series of games called Men of War, which I highly suggest you check out if you want an interesting and unique RTS to try… with some issues.

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Probando Juegos para Dos en Board in the City (Southampton)

Este lunes Adie y yo nos pasamos parte de la tarde en un café de juegos de mesa en la ciudad de Southampton (Reino Unido), llamada Board in the City. Ya lo conocíamos de otra escapadilla que hicimos este verano, cuando estuvimos jugando con un grupo de amigos a cosas múltiples. El sitio es muy acogedor: antes era un pub de vecindario, hay muchas mesas, muchos juegos, el personal es súper friki (de hecho, nos pasamos como media hora antes de ponernos a jugar hablando de superhéroes y warhammer con uno de los empleados), y lo mejor de todo es que transmite una sensación muy hogareña. Y los batidos están riquísimos 😉

Total, ya que esta vez solo éramos nosotros dos, decidimos aprovechar la situación y probar juegos que fuesen solo para 2 o con buena jugabilidad con el numero mínimo de jugadores. Cogimos Seven Wonders Duel, pero como los dos ya estábamos familiarizados con la dinámica del juego tras haberlo probado en grupo, nos inclinamos por otras cajas. Como tampoco teníamos todo el tiempo del mundo a nuestra disposición nos decidimos por dos juegos con duración máxima de una hora cada uno. Así que aquí vengo a dejaros esta breve reseña y comentario:

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Total War: WARHAMMER – First Impressions of the Wood Elves

This month the latest and greatest piece of DLC has been added to Total War: Warhammer; The Realm of the Wood Elves. So far I haven’t had the time to play a full campaign with them or any multiplayer battles, and the amount of new things this faction brings to the table is fairly large, so for now I’ll give a brief overview and my first impressions.

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Glade Guard about to let loose a volley

So to begin with, the campaign. Like I said I haven’t played a full grand campaign so far, but having briefly started one I can see some interesting unique things already. The position on the map you start in is the forest right next to Bretonnia, and so along with the Beastmen and new Crooked Moon orc faction that came a few months ago, that bottom left corner of the map has become much more lively than ever before, which is great. In terms of how the Elves play in campaign, the first big difference is that you can win without necessarily having to defeat your enemies, but instead can fully upgrade ‘The Oak of Ages’, a gigantic tree at the center of your territory. This is something that TW Warhammer hasn’t had until now, so the variety is appreciated. However, the new resource that the Elves use, Amber, is required to achieve this, and it can mostly be acquired by taking settlements, or slightly less so through alliances. Amber is also used to do other things such as research certain tech, and recruit certain units. In terms of the units it is needed for, that depends on which faction you play as, as this DLC gives you two Wood Elf factions to play with. One is the standard Wood Elf faction, led by The King in the Woods; Orion. The other is one that is more focused on spirits of the forest, led by Durthu the ancient treeman. So when playing as either faction, you need to spend amber to recruit the units from the other, meaning if you play as the Wood Elves led by Orion, if you want some treemen in your army, fork over the amber that you would otherwise need to use on the Oak of Ages. The only other major thing about the grand campaign is that you are able to conquer every territory on the map, but can then only build one building there. This allows you to potentially get as much amber as possible, while also keeping to the theme of the Elves not really spreading or settling outside of the forest much, and just building small outposts.

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The Oak of Ages at the heart of Athel Loren

There is also the special mini-campaign that comes with the Wood Elves. Much like the Beastmen special campaign it focuses on a small area of the map scaled up, this time their home forest of Athel Loren and a small part of Bretonnia. This campain seems to mostly be about defending the forest from chaos corruption spread by the Beastmen and their new Legendary Lord; Morghur the Shadowgave. Other than that, I seem to mostly be having conflicts with the many other elf factions within the forest. So having played mostly this instead of the grand campaign so far, I haven’t had a huge amount of variety with the battles and the enemies I’m coming up against.

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Durthu wrecking some Beastmen!

Speaking of the battles, let’s get into what’s new here. Now there’s a fairly large roster for the Wood elves so where do I start? Probably with the basics. For the most part your armies will probably consist of your basic spearmen and archers, those being the Eternal Guard and Glade Guard respectively. The Glade Guard also have two extra variants you can unlock that do special damage, basically one of them does is armour piercing and the other is poison. With the more special units you get some really interesting archers, such as the Deepwood Scouts and the Waywatchers, who are based around ambushing the enemy, and can also be effective skirmishers with their ability to shoot in any direction, and while moving. Other infantry you can get is fairly lacking in terms of raw power of defensive capability, but the ones you do get, such as Wardancers, can be extremely effective damage dealers if you are careful with them. In terms of cavalry, you get the Glade Riders which are horse archers, and the Wild Riders, who are mounted on stags, which is pretty awesome. There are also flying archers in the form of Hawk Riders, and magical cavalry in the form of the Sisters of The Thorn, who can cast spells. Then there are the Treemen and Treekin, who are your damage dealers and big hitters for the most part, if you can use them. And finally there are the monsters, the Great Eagle, who seems slightly less great when compared to the Forest Dragon, the first proper dragon we have in the game.

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Great Eagle attack, shortly to be followed by a Dragon attack!

So that’s the units, but how do they work together? Well for the most part it seems that what you want to do with the basic units is try to do as much ranged damage as possible. Most of your infantry has little armour and won’t last long against enemies such as Dwarves, Chaos, or even Empire on their own. Once you’ve got enough archers, and are using the different types to do things such as slow advancing enemies down with poison, and target the heavy infantry with your armour piercing arrows, then you need to set some ambushes. Due to most of the roster being very good at hiding, especially in forest, you’ll want to avoid setting up in standard battle lines, and mix things up a bit more, hide some wild riders in the trees to use their superior speed to spring a trap on the enemy’s flank or rear when they lest expect it. Maybe keep half your archers hidden and create a killzone in between their arcs of fire, and then you can throw in some treemen or treekin to start wreaking havoc amidst that chaos. Whatever you do, this army will take a lot of micro-managing, and require your full attention. So they may seem difficult and underpowered at first, as I have seen a lot of people saying, don’t be too disappointed in that, and instead start being more sneaky 😉